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The New Year’s Here: Make Better Resolutions in 2018

From starting a workout plan to saving for retirement, roughly 80% of New Year’s resolution fail within the first month. Of the people who keep their commitments through February and beyond, only 8% ultimately reach their goal. Why is that? If you ask 100 people, you’re likely to get 100 different excuses reasons. Making a resolution is easy. Sticking to it? That’s a different story. But instead of focusing on the failure, let’s look at some ways to increase your chances of success in 2018. Compiling an exhaustive list of what it takes to accomplish your goals would be…well, exhausting. So, to keep you from getting overwhelmed, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 simple suggestions that should help you start the new year strong. 5 Ways to Make Your New Year’s Resolution Stick Be real. If you want to get in better shape but haven’t exercised in years, walking for 20 minutes a day makes far more sense than running a marathon in March. If you want to have 3-6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund but haven’t saved a penny over the last year, start with setting aside $20 per paycheck. Realistic goals pave the way for quick wins and consistent progress. Be specific. When it comes to setting goals, it’s tempting to speak in generalizations. “I want to feel better.” “I want to be smarter with my money.” The danger of statements like these is that they can’t be measured. Being smart with money is tough to quantify. Paying an extra $50 towards credit card debt is much easier to track. Instead of playing it...

Auto Insurance: Hope for the Best or Plan for the Worst?

In a previous post, we discussed the benefits associated with auto insurance and extended warranty programs. Buying a car is most likely one of the biggest spending decisions you’ll make. While a substantial financial commitment like that can be stressful, knowing your investment is properly protected can be a welcome relief. But maybe you’re still not convinced that added coverage is worthwhile. Maybe you prefer to play the percentages. May the odds be ever in your favor. While this memorable line works well within a movie script, it’s not a solid strategy for deciding whether or not to adequately insure your new car. According to a 2016 JD Powers Vehicle Dependability Study, car problems seem to be the rule rather than the exception. Among the lengthy list of opportunity costs resulting from auto troubles, the long-term financial risk may be the most damaging. In fact, two out of three consumers surveyed by indicated that they do not have enough savings set aside to cover a $500 car repair. Statistics like this highlight the fact that a single breakdown can begin a ripple effect of financial damage. Fortunately, some financial institutions are taking steps to help the average consumer safeguard their car—and their wallet. Credit unions are getting creative. Based on the previously mentioned dependability study, car troubles may seem unavoidable. Fortunately, a growing number of credit unions are demonstrating their commitment to their members’ by developing creative ways to plan for the inevitable. Rather than crossing their proverbial fingers and hoping their members have uncommonly good luck, many community banks are taking a proactive approach by offering auto...